KOLKATA, April 10: After Independence, the state government has for the first time roped in private players to set up a green power project in Darjeeling.
The two hydel projects will be set up in the Darjeeling and Kalimpong sub divisions to cater for North Bengal’s demand. A 3 MW hydel project was commissioned on the Neora river in Kalimpong last Monday. The cost is about Rs 15 crore. The project has been set up by the Neora Hydro Electric Ltd ~a subsidiary group of Texmaco Ltd. This project, known as Neora Hydro Electric Projects was to benefit 5,000 families in Kalimpong.
The hydel power generated will be transferred to the power grid. So the state’s share of thermal and hydel power will improve marginally. A power department official said: “We are setting up small hydel projects to generate green power and reduce green house gas emission.’’ On the total power demand in the state and how far these small hydel projects will benefit North Bengal, he said: “In North Bengal, the total power requirement is about 200 MW and the six-megawatt hydel power project will meet about three per cent of the total demand. “We are trying to tap springs and rivulets ideal for small hydel projects in the Hills. These resources are not enough for mega hydel projects. The small projects are effective in providing power to rural areas.”. He said another 3-MW project will soon be commissioned on the Lodhama river near Rambam in Darjeeling by another private player ~ Nippon Power.
The West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency has arranged for soft loan up to Rs nine crore from the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency under the ministry of non conventional energy for these private players.